Gore's Mansion Goes Green

Bush vs. Gore:


The Denialist-in-Chief wasted eight years. Meanwhile, Al Gore did something. Now he’s done even more:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Al Gore, who was criticized for high electric bills at his Tennessee mansion, has completed a host of improvements to make the home more energy efficient, and a building-industry group has praised the house as one of the nation’s most environmentally friendly.

Yes! After all the finger-pointing, some vindication! Even though Gore has done more than any single human to raise consciousness on this issue of issues, I do think it would have been hypocritical for him not to do this. And though he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize regardless of these actions, now, he has solidified his integrity in the public eye, and that can only help the cause. One less tidbit of distracting non-news to distance folks from reality and dilute their anxiety. The complaining is interrupted for a fleeting moment, and in that moment, I say to the naysayers, (and to us all, as the article rightfully points out), time to look in the mirror and bring the focus back to our own complicity. Let’s use him as our role model, and act. May sustainability be a fundamental concern in all we do.

Carbon calculators, calculate your own personal carbon output and take action:

  1. Climate Crisis (quick but less accurate)
  2. UC Berkeley (more accurate)

Comments (14 comments)

John Evo / December 15th, 2007, 10:38 pm / #1

I really hate the criticisms of Gore that are used as an attempt to undercut concern about the environment. What a straw man! Gore is either right or he is wrong. If he is right, he could be flying around the world in a 767 with no other passengers and he is STILL right! It seems like kind of a reverse argument from authority. The authority does something wrong in an unrelated field and that should be taken as a reflection on his position in the field of relevance.

Yada / March 31st, 2009, 2:26 am / #2

But Gore is wrong and that is the problem. Geology and history show that the earth has warmed many times before. Global warming is natural. Mars is also experiencing global warming and there are no combustion engines there. Our atmosphere contains less than 0.01 % CO2. Think about this….

Morgaine / December 16th, 2007, 5:59 pm / #3

I really hate the criticisms of Gore that are used as an attempt to undercut concern about the environment.


Where I differ is that I think it also matters that a leader attempts to be consistent with what he/she preaches. That said, everyone who understood who this man was, his record as an environmental leader, his ethics, how earnest he was in his message, also knew he was doing carbon-offsets as well as buying green-energy and would soon do, whatever else he could to address the personal inconsistencies he may have demonstrated. So, for us who knew the man in that context, (which is the only educated context there was) the fact that his house didn’t reflect the message he preached was a straw man as you say, and all the tongue-wagging was once again a way to deflect attention from the enormity of the problem. As Gore spoke to, shoot the messenger, when the message is not the one you wish to hear.

Bottom line for me, it was just beyond obvious that Gore was a man with way too much self -awareness to not walk his talk. It was clearly just a matter time. Given how dire the situation is, and how far reaching the film’s message was, I am grateful he made it a priority to make the film first. Awakening the global community as he has, was far more urgent than retrofitting his personal home. AND I am glad he got around to this as well.

Oh… those who bitch that it’s hypocritical of him to fly all over the world and burn all that fossil fuel to deliver his message need to consider that the cumulative impact of his message will vastly outweigh the impact of his personal carbon production.

valhar2000 / December 18th, 2007, 9:25 am / #4

Boy, I wish I had the bucks to do that… I changed my bulbs to flourescent and that’s about as far as I can go.

Still, it shows that it can be done, and other wealthy people should follow his lead in this regard.

Wes / August 22nd, 2009, 11:19 am / #5

All the things people are doing will not help because if there is global warming it is not Man Made. Why back in the 60's they said the earth was cooling and then no one bought that so then they changed it to global warming. Of coarse they said it was due to carbon because everything we do produces carbon and they can sell carbon offsets. When science shows thats not true (al gore will not debate anyone) now they call it climate change. Humans cant change the weather but this term isn't as hard to explain wthout scientific proof.

charles / December 18th, 2007, 11:00 am / #6

so how does Gore’s house compare with Bush’s? I would find it fascinating to see a side by side comparison of what it costs to heat/cool by square foot. then we can REALLY stick it to the conservatives.

Wes / August 22nd, 2009, 11:22 am / #7

Bushes house is totally energy saving totally green and has been even before this became the right thing to do.
Google it

valhar2000 / December 19th, 2007, 7:02 am / #8

Didn’t Reagan remove solar panels from the White House? Those guys are incapable of being shamed.

Wes / August 22nd, 2009, 11:25 am / #9

NO he didn't and if he did so what there is no man made global warming

Morgaine / December 21st, 2007, 1:14 pm / #10

Charles: As interesting as the question is,  I think that now that Gore has taken the steps he has, the question continues to take the focus off the ball. We can’t look at such figures side by side without out weighing in the context of how the homes are used and by whom. For example, as our former Vice President, Gore has special security needs that require a live-in staff. Both Al and Tipper manage their businesses and charitable efforts from their home. Then there is the fact that the average energy usage figures includes apartments, condos, and other multi-family dwellings. There is no way that even medium sized homes in the East South-Central region could use less energy than the “average American”. Also, there’s the fact that Gore retrofitted a 90 yr old home that someone would have used anyway, (probably without making the changes he has) and in the process changed zoning laws which now make it easier for others in his area to make similar updates. How do we quantify the value of these things? So the comparison is complex. More importantly though… how have the people living in the homes effected the state of our planet in the overall scheme? I think the answer is clear.

Valhar2000: Yes, Reagan removed them in 1986.

For those who may not know- They (32 solar heating panels) were originally erected in 1979, on the West Wing of the presidential mansion by President Jimmy Carter, following the Arab oil embargo. This was part of his call for a nationwide campaign to conserve energy…to set an example for the country.

Some of the myths I read about their removal: that Attorney General Edwin Meese ordered them gone because they gave the wrong impression about America as a superpower. Another is that a leak in the roof needed to be fixed and the panels were never replaced. Others say it was a gesture to the oil industry.
After their removal, the panels were being stored in a government warehouse in Franconia, Va., when Maine’s Unity College heard about them and asked that they be released to the school.

Evidently Greenpeace also asked for the panels so they could be used on a homeless shelter, but the White House refused after the government questioned the group´s incorporation papers.

Once at Unity, (16 of them) were installed to reheat water in the 495-student school´s dining hall for 12 years, and became part of the schools promotion for prospective students to demonstrate that they indeed, practiced the kinds of conservation they were teaching. The remainder were stored, with one or two occasionally used for student experimentation. By 2004 the panels were worn out and Unity had them removed

Black Sun Journal » Why I Moderate Comments / May 17th, 2008, 12:01 am / #11

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Theo Richel / June 23rd, 2008, 3:28 am / #12

I just read that though Gore has apparently adapted his mansion his electricity use is up 10% nevertheless. See here .
Someone here asked about how Bush lives, well I do not know how Bush’s house compares to Gores refurbished house, but Gore’s earlier version certainly lost the battle. Bush had his house constructed with the environment high on the list ( See here ).

I find it refreshing to read here that someone thinks that it is not so very important how much energy Gore uses, but that it is far more important whether he is right. I agree completely. In that line of reasoning it is not so much important whether some poeple are paid by the oil industry, but similarly: whether they are right is what counts.
By the way: in my view Gore is wrong: the earth hasnt warmed in the past 10 years. CO2 has been rising steadily so CO2 doesnt cause extra warming. Sigh of relief.!

BlackSun / June 30th, 2008, 7:54 am / #13

Theo Richel,

Not sure why everyone focuses on Bush and Gore’s personal electricity usage. I’d be more concerned about their impact on policy. That’s the real test. How much C02 has been removed from the atmosphere by Gore’s tireless consciousness raising? He is a very active public figure with a staff. His home is also his office and I’m sure some support people also reside there. Also, the home was being retrofit for a good deal of the year in 2007, so how much of that electricity use was for construction? It’s disingenuous to compare Gore’s house to a single-family home.

Your statements about lack of warming are just plain false. Might want to suck that sigh back in–if you want our grandkids to have a chance, that is.

Morgaine / June 30th, 2008, 10:22 am / #14

Theo Richel

If you had read the comment section, you’d see why the 10% difference, in and of itself, is meaningless. There is context that any statistic must be put in before one can make a relevant conclusion. In this case, some of the multiple factors that must be weighed in before you can accurately analyze the data are listed in comment #6. I’m not going to reiterate it all, just scroll up and look. Black Sun listed some of them. And they count. Your attempt to discredit Gore doesn’t hold water.

You also misconstrue the use of the term ‘right’ . No one was arguing in simplistic terms about right and wrong, or that it didn’t matter where one’s funding comes from. The point was that since Gore was right about the phenomenon of global warming, what he was doing to raise consciousness globally, outweighed what was sacrificed in his personal use, as the most pressing matter was educating a wide enough audience to bring about the scope of change that the crises called/calls for.  I went on to suggest that he could be doing both… doing more personally while spreading the message, which he did, thus, my congrats on his retrofit.

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